Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Queering 4:21 - 5:1 the Epistle to the Galatians by Rev. Steve Parelli - A Letter to the Religious Right in America

Queering 4:21 - 5:1 of the Epistle to the Galatians
An adaptation of Paul's letter by Rev. Stephen Parelli

  • Overview:  In matters of personal belief and practice, which America are we? - the John Cotton America which enslaves us to the moral prerogatives of the state or the Roger Williams America which deems each of us a free moral agent before God?
To view the following queer adaptation of Gal. 4:21 - 5:1 in parallel with the text of the New Revised Standard Version, click here

Rev Steve Parelli's adaptation:

Chapter 4

21 Tell me, you in America who desire to legislate religion - to write the precepts of your personal faith into our civil laws - do you not hear the story of your Puritan forbearers?

22 For history tells us Boston had two sons, the one, John Cotton, tied to the old European mindset of a church-state paradigm, and the other, Roger Williams, born of the spirit of liberty, in which the church is free from the dictates of the state and the state of the dictates of the church.

23 Now, the former was born out of the Reformation (in Europe) which was still slave to the idea of church-state/ state-church governments; the latter was born of the Enlightenment by which the promise of liberty and equality for all was nurtured in the thoughts and writings of men and women.

24 Now these two figures - Cotton and Williams - are a fair representation of what is happening today in America with marriage equality. Cotton is from the old world and is fathering children who become nothing more than slaves, surrendering their liberties to a state-church/church-state society.

25 Cotton represents governments which make laws and rule according to the beliefs and values of the dominant religion which every citizen - the religious, the non-religious, and those of different beliefs - must obey; which makes slaves of everyone, even of the citizens who willingly hold to the dominate values.

26 But Williams represents that government which corresponds to something which is higher - the idea that all human beings answer to God according to the dictates of their own hearts without the interference of any human institution, be it civil, religious, private, public, local or national. A society is free when, at every level and in all of its dealings, it protects and guarantees each one's liberty in matters of conscience before God.

27 And that's why it can be said of Williams:

"Rejoice, Rhode Island, you who bore no children in Boston, for now it is your turn to burst into singing. Shout "His truth is marching on" you whose birth pains for religious liberty in Boston brought forth only still-born babies. For the children of Rhode Island are - throughout the world today - more numerous than the children of 17th century Puritan Boston. The desolate, unsought-after town of Providence, where, among the exiled of Massachusetts, religious liberty was born, is by far greater today than the highly-esteemed Beacon Hill of yesteryear with all its shinning Puritan lights."

28 Now you, my dear American reader, are the children of religious liberty - the promise of equality, freedom and individual dignity in matters of religious belief and practice, like Roger Williams was.

29 But just like then, John Cotton (whose belief-system was mandated by New England law and forced upon all its citizens) persecuted Roger Williams (whose belief-system guaranteed that others could believe and act differently than him or Cotton), so it is now with the repeal of marriage equality in some states, that the religious right persecute the children of the spirit of Roger Williams.

30 But what does history teach us? Though some colonies had officially recognized an establishment of religion, the newly formed Untied States would not. The children of the free Rhode Island would not share the inheritance of the children of the religiously non-free Virginia and New England in the formation of the United States of America. The likes of Virginia and New England had to yield to the likes of Rhode Island so that the first amendment was adopted.

31 So then, friends, we are children, not of John Cotton and the Reformation and New England which failed to gave us religious liberty, but of Roger Williams the father of religious liberty.

Chapter 5

1 It is this kind of freedom for which Christ has set us free. A freedom that respects all men and women equally as recipients of liberty of conscience, whatever their creed, gender, race, age, sexual orientation, sex, nationality, education, philosophy of life and whatever else are the accidental differences shared together by our one essence as human beings. Stand fast in this kind of liberty, therefore, and do not put yourselves ever again under a legal system that makes you mere slaves to a view of God which is not your own and which the state, or any institution, would mandate against your will without your free consent.

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